Winter Ale St Peter’s Winter Ale (500ml bottle, 6.5% ABV)

The traditional ‘winter warmer’ is an interesting beer style. Rather than warming you up on a winter’s day by being, well … warm, it opts for a different approach: numbing you with a big wodge of alcohol so you don’t care.

St Peter’s Winter Ale claims to be ruby-coloured, but I have to disagree – it’s very nearly black. The head is something to behold: a creamy, luxurious pillow of foam that tempts you to dive in as surely as a hot bubble bath after a long walk in the cold.

With these attributes, you’d be forgiven for wondering if it was a stout, but it’s not. There’s a generous mouthful of roasted grain, but it’s more on the ‘strong ale’ side of things rather than being a stout or a porter. Aromas of vanilla and spice also translate nicely into the taste, followed by a touch of milky sweetness, and an aftertaste of warming malt and spicy hops.

The mouthfeel is something else: tongue-strokingly luxuriant, with lazy bubbles and a thick, creamy texture that makes it very easy to carry on drinking until the last drop, regrettably, has gone.

It’s a modest name for a cracking beer.

Written by Richard Salsbury

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